Wildlife activists are targeting two rod and gun clubs in the Kootenays and a Williams Lake business for hosting contests to kill animals such as wolves, coyotes, cougars, and raccoons.
The Wildlife Protection Coalition, made up of 54 conservationists, animal protection organizations, and scientists, is calling on the B.C. government to put a stop to the contests.
“The coalition is currently aware of three separate contests. The first is a ‘wolf-whacking contest’ hosted by Chilcotin Guns in Williams Lake; the second is a ‘predator tournament’ hosted by the Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club; and the third is hosted by the West Kootenay Outdoorsmen Club,” the coalition stated in a news release issued Monday.
In an open letter dated March 10, addressed to Forestry Minister Doug Donaldson, the signatories from the coalitions highlighted concerns about the existence of contests throughout the province that encourage the indiscriminate killing of animals.
“In some cases, participants receive points for the type of animal killed and are competing for a cash prize,” the coalition stated.
A spokesperson from Chilcotin Guns who declined to give his name said the contest aimed to support the cattle industry, which was being decimated by an overpopulation of wolves over the last decade. The wolves were being trapped, and not hunted, by registered trappers, he said.
Charlotte Dawe, conservation and policy campaigner for the Wilderness Committee, said the growing trend of killing some species to save others is “deeply concerning and not as genuine as some may think.”
“Governments are choosing to kill predators rather than address the actual problem, which is habitat destruction. Wolves get killed so that governments don’t have to deal with the burden of protecting and restoring habitat,” she added.